Mon 13 September 2021 | 10:43

Kira Rai keen to inspire more South Asian women to play football

The Derby County women winger says she is slowly getting used to being a role model for younger players.

Kira Ray

has spent the last decade working at

Derby County

. The Burton-born Punjabi, who is now a cornerstone of the Rams’ squad, helped her side climb up to fourth place in the FA Women's National League North last week as they defeated Stoke with a 3-2 result.

Ray is delighted by the fact that she can inspire more South Asian women to play football.

"I've never really considered myself to be a role model. Like up until now, I've just played football because it's something that I enjoy, because it's my passion,"

she told 

Sky Sports News


"But I guess I should be more aware that as a South Asian female footballer there aren't many people like us, so I know that I am a face that is probably a bit different to everyone else's.

"And if a young Asian girl sees my face and thinks "alright, there's someone like me that can do it", then I'm more than happy to help her, I want to motivate them. At the end of the day, if I can inspire other South Asian girls to play football, then that's amazing.”

Ray’s love for football comes from her father, who helped her in joining Burton Albion at a young age. The winger then earned a place in Derby County’s squad, where she is helping them in their mission to secure promotion to the Women's Championship.

"Being a South Asian female footballer, it's not something I have ever thought of as negative to myself - I've always seen it as a positive. If I'm the first one to do it or someone else is the first one to do it, that can never be a negative. It's always a positive.

"You've got to take everything in your stride. Yeah, there are more barriers for you, but what does that matter? That doesn't matter, you just have to break them down. When you do break them down, it's got a bigger reward than you would ever imagine."

Ray collaborated with London sports club Indian Gymkhana in an event that was aimed at encouraging more South Asian women to start playing the game. The 22-year-old winger provided tips for both young players and their parents about girls' football.

source: SportMob

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